First off I want to start by saying I have no advice to offer here. I am dealing with an issue and writing about it helps me do so. For those that do no know the meaning of anxiety in terms it fits for the game I will provide the definition so you can better understand what I am going through.
Anxiety - a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Basically being afraid to pug. There is no more uncertain outcome than being grouped with a bunch of random people who you know nothing about.
I am completely certain I am not the only person that has experienced these feeling when pugging but I wasn't always this way. And no, it was not bad pugs that made me start having this issue, I don't even know what triggered it. I just have a very unreasonable fear of pugs for the last couple of years and it seems to keep getting worse. It seems the more blizzard opens up pugging the more anxieties I have about it. Even if I do join a pug and it goes well it does not make me feel less worried about the next pug I join, it makes me feel more worried.
These past few weeks with people on vacation for the holidays or other such stuff going on in life we have had some absences on the raid team. One day without a tank, another down a healer, and then this week with 2 main tanks, 4 main healers, and 5 geared damage dealers I had the option of pugging 4 damage dealers or asking people to switch.
In each case I decided to switch to tank myself once, have someone else switch to healer another time, and then last night I had one healer switch to DPS and tried doing 2/3/6 which is really still over healing. Each case we did not get the normal progression we should have on heroic. One night we did 7 bosses, another 5 and then the last only 4. We should be doing more than that in a raid night, we had done more than that, we can do more than that, but it is my fear of pugs that is making me rather have people switch than bring outsiders in to fill the gap even if I know filling the gap is more beneficial to the group as a whole.
Some might say I am trying to keep all gear in the guild, which is a good thing. Some might say I am trying to push my group to be capable of doing more than just want they get used to which makes them better players, which is a good thing. Some might say I am just trying to keep things moving instead of having to wait on pugs, which is a good thing.
But the truth is, I am just afraid to invite pugs to the group. I would rather spend the night wiping on something we have been downing for months (which has happened) than bring in someone else and it is killing my enjoyment of raiding and I am pretty sure the spirit of the raiders as well.
One night a few weeks ago with two rookie tanks it took us 8 attempts to get iron reaver down. A boss that should have been nothing of a challenge. But instead of looking for two geared tanks I decided to have 2 people with 680ish alts tank it. Admittedly it was a little low for unproven tanks in heroic, but we did manage even if we wiped more than a few times.
So you can think of it two ways, I challenged my group to do something and they did it. Or I held them back because in the time it took us to down it, and the time I took out to explain the taunt switching and such to the tanks, we probably could have cleared the entire lower part.
I can maybe understand my anxieties about pugging alone because not doing it I only hurt myself, but I have a feeling if I keep this fear of pugging up I am going to do more damage to the guilds group than I have ever done to help them.
When I need people I should just go grab them. There are a wealth of players out there looking to raid on even well geared mains, or very skilled players on undergeared alts. Sure there will be some disruptive players, some toxic players, some loot drama that always come with pugs and other such unwelcome additions that come with it but there could also be bosses dying, loot being distributed and maybe even some new players finding their way to us on a regular basis because they like our style or we are a right fit for them and their progression.
There is good and bad to pugging, that is for sure, I know it. So why do I fear it so? Only a few short years ago I would start my own pugs, just me or just me and one guild mate and go in and do whatever I could in whatever was the current raid. I had no qualms about it. I made a lot of friends and it is where I built my reputation on my server as a good guy that was fun to play with. But that was when pugging was server specific. As they open up pugging more and more my anxieties seem to go up higher and higher about it.
Now I really am just the grumpy elf that would rather not kill something than invite a pug to his group because I have this unreasonable fear.
But the last couple of weeks I have been slowly trying to rectify the situation. It is not working too well just yet, but it is working somewhat.
I am pugging alone, getting more comfortable in the pug environment again. The other night before raid I did two pugs. Not kidding, two pugs. One was for one boss only oddly enough and it was even advertised that way but I still wanted to get into it to ease my way into interacting with others. Also I figured it was perfect, a one boss raid means quick raid hopefully, so it made it the perfect raid for me.
I was doing this because I figure if I can get comfortable with pugging again maybe I can start inviting people into my groups, or better yet, meet someone in one of these groups that I could invite and it would feel more like a friend coming along instead of a pug. Even if it is someone I only raided with once, I do not consider them really a pug. I know them, even if it is just slightly. For these pugs the fact I already killed the bosses meant nothing to me. I wanted the interaction, that is what I was there for, to push myself to get over my anxieties.
First group was normal mano and archie. One shot both. The requirements to join were extremely reasonable at 705 item level. The second group was heroic gorefiend only, the guy had killed all other bosses. It was a one shot as well. It had asked for 710 only and had the "know fight" tag which was simple and again very reasonable.
I then hit my anxiety driven wall, even after 2 pugs and 3 one shot kills you would think I would feel comfortable now, I am in the zone. That was absolutely not the case. I saw a heroic xhul that said it wanted 715 item level. I have that so check. It wanted 50K DPS minimum. I have that and would probably do considerably more, so check. It said know fight. I know the fight, did it earlier this week even so check.
I had everything it asked for and more and I just could not bring myself to hit join group. I clicked on the listing, even clicked on the join. Started to type out my "know fight, can pull the numbers, am raid aware" line but never finished writing it. I could not click the join and I don't know why. I locked up. The description seemed reasonable, no "raid leader is a jerk" indicators with the words he used. I just could not do it.
And this was after two very successful pugs that had no jerks in them, went smooth as could be, and would be considered an outstandingly positive experience even by the harshest critics out there.
So I did not join that raid or any other for that matter. I just wanted for an hour to see who showed up. Saw a nice turn out and figured maybe we can do a couple upper heroic bosses that night and refused to pug again for that hour I was waiting because I was afraid to.
I need to figure out why I feel this overwhelming anxiety about pugs lately. The main thing there is to do in the game right now is raid and I am afraid to pug. It is bad enough if I ruin my own time by not being able to pug, but I do not wish to ruin the guilds time based on my own personal problems as well.
What caused this anxiety and how do I fix it, I need to figure that out on my own and I need to figure it out soon. It is killing my enjoyment of raiding.